Geocaching: Challenges No More, Cumbyrocks To Blame

Any GC.com geocacher who has checked their email today will be aware that Geocaching.com have decided to retire the Challenge part of the site. In case you haven’t read it their email reads…

In our effort to inspire outdoor play through Geocaching, we are often faced with decisions

about what to focus on next, and what to focus on less. It is through these decisions that we explore opportunities to grow the global game of Geocaching.

Occasionally, during this process, we are faced with the reality that certain ideas don’t catch on as we had hoped. In these situations we owe it to ourselves and to you to make tough decisions about the future of every project and the resources to be applied to each. Sometimes, as a result, cool features must become casualties.

In this spirit, we have decided to retire Geocaching Challenges.

This means that, effective today, we have disabled the ability to create new Challenges. We have also removed the Challenges application from all mobile application stores. In approxim ately 7 days, we will be removing all traces of the Challenges functionality and related content from Geocaching.com.

On an office wall here at HQ is a sign that reads, “Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow.” By accepting that we will sometimes get it wrong, we can allow ourselves to learn from and imagine new opportunities in the world of Geocaching. Our hope is we can take the lessons from Challenges and create better tools to guide you on your next adventure.

So, in 7 days, Challenges will slip quietly out the door. I have mixed emotions about this as I quite liked them as a concept…but I never got enough out of them to warrant doing them more.

Ultimately they are not much different to the grandfathered virtual caches. In fact they are almost identical – you go someone, you fulfill a requirement, you log it.But you don’t get anything for it. Except the particular experience of that Challenge of course. Some people, the true “not about the numbers” caching purists, seemed to love this and embraced Challenges. For me, someone who thinks it’s not ALL about the numbers but they are a fun part of the game, I was waiting for them to earn a smiley.
But it didn’t.Perhaps through some level of innocence (if you can believe that) or more likely through some level of hope I had thought this would occur.I was also waiting for them to be integrated into the GC.com map, or into one of the Geocaching apps. Much like the integration of Munzee into the geocaching Android app CacheSense, which has provided me with greater enjoyment and participation in both games, I had assumed I would do more Challenges when my map showed me there was one just down the road from a cache I was doing.

Of course with their departure the chorus of virtual cache lovers has started singing already. I would love to see virtuals come back in some format, possibly their old format, but with greater restrictions in place. The last thing I want to see is a flood of virtual caches taking over the map.

So how is it that I am responsible for the demise of the Challenge? Well, given that the world revolves around me 😉 , I can only assume it is an attempt by a certain Geocaching.com founder, who visited Dunedin for the recent NZ Mega event, to cover his Challenge tracks. Having accepted The Dunedin Robbie Burns Challenge some months earlier, where participants were required to sing the first verse and chorus of Auld Lang Syne next to the Robbie Burns statue in Dunedin’s Octagon, it was shrewdly pointed out to him during his attendance at the Mega Clean Up – Dunedin Flashmob (GC3VNAF) event there. Being the good sport he is the task was undertaken with gusto and evidence of his feat is below…but Challenges now seem to have paid the ultimate price. 😉

Image saved from extinction from the Challenges section…



  1. Manville Possum Hunters

    I think that I had a few nice Challenges, but in general they were not very popular. Many of mine are listed Waymarks, EarthCaches, and other types of Virtual listings.
    I don’t think it was your fault Cumbyrocks, and you have mistaken yourself for my butt, which indeed the World does relove around. It was my fault, I posted in their forums that I enjoyed their Challenges. Waymarking may be next.
    Jokes aside my friend, looks like Groundspeak knows when to cut it losses. I just don’t see Virtual listings ever being reintroduced. They have been there and done that already. It’s time to move along now and “Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow.”



  2. CraigRat

    Correction: If the challenge is to go to *A* statue, that is any old statue then it is a Locationless cache.

    If the challenge is to go to a PARTICULAR statue then it would be like a virtual.

    Waymarking AND challenges in general were replacements for Locationless (reverse) caches.

    Most people, including groundspeak seem to have forgotten this subtle yet very important difference. A virtual has a lot more cachet than something you can log any old place. It still ties in a lat/lon and an experience that the hider intended, rather than ‘take a photo of your shoes’

    I have no problem with virtuals and I can’t see why they can’t come back on their site.

    Locationlesses can stay at Waymarking for all I care……………….

  3. TofLaBeuze

    I can agree, their non-integration in GC Maps may have been a THE very bad idea…
    Waste of energy 🙁

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